A decade ago I was pregnant with my first child. I remember being asked, “So what’s your birth plan?”
Some women choose to have very detailed birth plans. I thought having a baby and both of us coming out alive and healthy was enough of a plan. So much can happen that’s out of our control. I guess my only birth plan was to be open to anything happening and to trust my doctor.
I definitely didn’t have the labor I had pictured in my mind over those nine months. My daughter was born via emergency C-section after being stuck in the birth canal with her head turned. According to my doctor, it was the only solution.
After the C-section
Physically I had a pretty easy recovery from my surgery, but mentally it took a toll on me.
I didn’t have a single ounce of confidence when it came to being a new mom. There were times I wanted my old life back. I was good at my old life. It was as Lionel would say, “Easy like Sunday mornings.”
I love my daughter with every fiber of my being, but I think the trauma of enduring an unplanned surgery on top of being a brand new mom was just a little much on my emotional bucket. It overflowed quite often.
Coming To Terms
Not having that immediate skin to skin time with my baby after she was born contributed to the emotional pain as well. It took me about six solid weeks before I felt like I was in the groove and completely connected to my daughter.
However it took me about three years to be at peace with my C-section and those difficult early weeks of motherhood.
The medications that were given to me during surgery had a very interesting and unique effect on me that I absolutely hated. I had hallucinations amongst other bizarre things. The idea of going through that again terrified me and I was scared of what my emotional health would be like after labor, but I knew I was ready to have another baby. I decided I was going to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). This was my new birth plan.
The New Birth Plan: A VBAC
I didn’t care about if I should stay away from epidurals or inductions, if I should play music or have silence, if the room should be bright or dimly lit. All I cared about was bringing my baby boy into the world the way God created my body to do it. The first time, I felt robbed of this experience. I wanted skin to skin right away. I wanted to feel joy. I needed this to happen. This was going to happen.
I met Dr. Cannon during a regular check up because my other OB was out of town. This appointment was divine intervention, I truly believe that. He was my godsend. He called himself the, “VBAC advocate of the group.”
I remember him telling me, “Stick with me and you won’t have a c section. Too many C-sections are being done. You won’t get the support for your VBAC with anyone else in the group.”
He was right.
The other doctor I was meeting with regularly said, “Yeah you can try for one but let’s get your C-section scheduled.” That never sat well with me. Thanks for the vote of confidence, lady.
Finding a Supportive Doctor
Having Dr. Cannon as my regular, scheduled OB from there on out was life changing. He listened to me, he eased my fears, he continually filled me with assurance that I was going to have a VBAC. He didn’t promise me or give me a 100% guarantee, but I trusted him.
During my labor he was truly there for me. At one point I was feeling so exhausted that I was terrified I wasn’t pushing correctly. He said, “I am not giving you a C-section today. Reach down, what do you feel?”
It was my baby boy’s head! It was just what I needed to keep going. I pushed some more (about a half hour total) and Dr. Cannon let me reach down and pull my son out the rest of the way and onto my chest. I did it! I pushed my baby out! His warm skin was instantly on mine. It was the most amazing experience of my life.
Each Birth Is Special
When I said I was robbed of this the first time around I don’t mean that my surgery was unnecessary. In fact I believe it saved my daughter’s life.
But that doesn’t take away that feeling that I missed out on what my body was designed to do and what God intended for my body to do. It was still incredibly difficult to go through planned or not.
In my case, I’m thankful my daughter came out how she did because the cord was wrapped so tightly around her neck they needed to perform CPR. Who knows what our lives would be like if I kept trying to push her out.
Each birth is special. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not a VBAC is the best option. I truly believe that finding the right doctor who is 100 percent in support of them is key. So if you’re finding that the doctor you’re with isn’t very gung ho about it, I would suggest getting a 2nd opinion. And if the 2nd opinion is much like the first, find a third. Keep searching until you find your godsend.
Having Your Own Plan
While I think it’s important to have a plan of your own, but I also know that plans can change. The one thing that didn’t change was my complete trust in Dr. Cannon. He was always listening to me, encouraging me, and made me believe that a VBAC was possible and attainable.
My advice to you if you’re struggling with whether or not to try for one is to go for it. Find that doctor or midwife who will believe in your plan with you. He or she is out there.
No matter what happens I hope and pray you and your baby are healthy and are able to connect and bond. I hope you know how strong you are for bringing life into the world. It’s not easy. Only Wonder Woman can do it, and that’s exactly who you are.
For more parenting experiences, click here.